A Tana River preacher was forced to flee during a church service after members attempted to lynch him for deducting a percentage of the money raised to settle a church member's hospital bill.

| File | Nation Media Group

Tana River preacher escapes lynching in Sh92,000 church cash theft

A preacher in Tana River was forced to flee during a church service after members attempted to lynch him for allegedly deducting Sh92,000 from Sh530,000 raised to settle a church member's hospital bill.

According to Ms Anne Musyoki, the church's treasurer, the money had been raised to settle the hospital bill of a church member who had undergone surgery at a Nairobi hospital.

"We found out (that money was missing) when the family told us that the hospital had declined to discharge the patient because of an outstanding balance of Sh51,000. What shocked us was that the amount of money the hospital received from the church was less by Sh92,000," she told the Nation.

The preacher, whose identity we have concealed for legal reasons, had turned up to preach at the second service on Sunday, unaware that members were waiting for him.  

Ms Musyoki said the church, which had also catered for his logistics, had entrusted him with delivering the money to the family.

However, when asked about the huge deficit, the preacher told the congregation that the money was meant to take care of tithe and other matters. He promised to account for the money later.

Contacted for comment, the preacher said he fled after church members started pelting him with stones.

"To err is human, I am trained differently in terms of faith and that is why I tithed the amount, but I will refund (the money) and settle the matter with my members," he said in a telephone interview.

Ms Musyoki said the family had sought financial support from the church after losing all their property during the treatment of their relatives.

The church was also in the process of raising more money to send the family’s children back to school and help it recover from the rough economic times.

"This family was on the edge, some of their children had dropped out of very good schools to settle in the village while others had even deferred their college studies," she said.

As the congregation grew furious, the pastor left the podium, promising to return with the money.

But church members warned that he must still produce the money.

"We will settle the bill but the pastor must bring the money and apologise," said Barack Munelo, an elder.